The term “Mediterranean diet” refers to the eating habits and traditions of Crete and Southern Italy during the 1960’s. This dietary model made Greece famous making scientists all over the world turn their interest to the “Cretan phenomenon” and the longevity of its population as we as to the roads of the Mediterranean in general. Greek Mediterranean diet is complete in nutrients and fully covers all the dietary needs of people in every age.
The basic principle of Greek Mediterranean diet is the triptych Balance- Measure –Variety. The pyramid of Mediterranean diet comprises:
• Plenty of fibres (fruits, vegetables, bread / cereals, potatoes, pulses, grains).
• Very little processed foods.
• Dairy products (mostly cheese and yoghurt) daily in small quantities.
• Fish and poultry in small and medium quantities.
• Red meat twice a month.
• Olive oil as primary source of fats containing monounsaturated fatty acids.
• Wine with moderation.
Scientific data have shown that Mediterranean diet could contribute in:
• Lose weight.
• Reduce the risk of coronary disease and high blood pressure.
• Fight several forms of cancer and chronic diseases
• Reduce asthma.
• Prevent diabetes.
• Prevent depression.
• Raise healthier babies.
• Prevent Parkinson’s.
Since the early 1960’s, research on a global level has focused on the eating habits of people from different countries. The results have demonstrated that people living in the Mediterranean and, specifically, in Greece, presented lower mortality rates from cancer and coronary disease and had the longest life expectancy as opposed to people from other countries. In an effort to decipher this fact, scientists were led to the conclusion that their special and natural way of life (working in the countryside, increased physical activity), paired with their simple and uncomplicated diet, was the reason behind this fact.
Olive oil, the primary ingredient of Mediterranean diet, has a positive impact on most forms of cancer, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of colon cancer.
Finally, we would like to conclude with a few tips regarding our daily intake of various food groups.
•Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.
• Consume red meat only a couple of times each month or more often in smaller portions.
• Similarly with pastries.
• Eggs, poultry, fish, dairy, few times per week.
• Olive oil, fruits, pulses, dry nuts, bread, vegetables, pasta, rice and other cereals, potatoes daily.
• Wine with moderation.
• Systematic exercise.
Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that Mediterranean diet has not been produced from scientists but merely researched by them and it constitutes our way of life! It is about the communication among people sitting in the same table, sharing their problems over a glass of wine and expressing how they feel!